Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Preview: DC's New 52 Ever Expanding

Just like the "Big Bang" pushing the edges of our universe ever outward, DC Comics' New 52niverse has been expanding every month, and by the look of these sneak peeks we've just received, they aren't slowing down going into 2012!

The titles I've been reading have reached major peaks that provide a sort of cliff hanger leading into the new year...or rather a launching point for a higher level of action to start the year off right. Animal Man has been confronting The Rot and will soon need the strength of Swamp Thing to come out alive. Batwoman has had a major shakeup in her nightly Bat-tivities, forcing her to make a choice that may put her at odds with big poppa bat himself. And the Justice League? Ohhh..they have just started their battle with the being known as DARKSEID!! Can you dig it? I knew you could. There is zero chance of me abandoning any of these titles, but since you may be aware I read just about all the 1st issues of the new 52, here's a run down of what I abandoned and what I'm sticking with.

Action Comics - This had a strong start with a Superman I really enjoyed watching in action, but there was just something missing in the story to grab me and hold me past issue 2.
Catwoman - Batsex. hm. I'm not a prude or anything, but if I wanted to watch Batman have sex, I'd search for those freaky Anime sites where budding young artists spend their nights drawing lurid pictures of their favorite comic characters entangled much like a Kama Sutra with bad comic art. Not for me.
Batwoman - The sheer beauty of this book would keep me coming back for a while, but this story is so interesting and original, I look forward to the next book more than any others. Batwoman pushes the boundaries of what you have come to expect from a "Bat Family Book" and I wish the other Bat titles would soak up some of that raw energy.
Batgirl - I loved the first issue, so why didn't I buy number 2? This may have come down to expense. I could only afford so many books a month so only the ones I absolutely couldn't live without made the cut. While watching Batgirl in action was a blast, it just wasn't enough.
Nightwing - I read Nightwing for years and have a stack of trades to prove it. Out of the gate, the direction the book was taking didn't make me want to continue. I'm an old dog not looking for any new tricks, admittedly, but in this case, it seemed the creators were trying to capture that old feeling and it showed.
Justice League Dark - Too many characters I was unfamiliar with sort of leering at each other or shooting the unholy stink eye. Way too heavy for me with too many characters I care nothing for...which is funny because I love the hell out of Hellblazer. That may be my consistently favorite book of 2011!
Deadman - Zero interest in following this story. Just very unappealing. On top of that, one comic suggested Deadman was still alive while this one brought back that old body jumping story line. Confusing!
Hawk and Dove - I can't handle pages upon pages of people bearing their gums at each other. Sorry, Rob. Dick comment, I know.
Swamp Thing - You know, I wish this comic were grabbing me more, and the visuals are cool enough to keep me coming back every month, but I'm on the edge. If things don't pick up soon (which they look to be), I'll bow out.
Animal Man - Hooked. Completely. It's vicious and interesting and fun and oddly real all at once. Did I ever think I'd be reading Animal Man??!! NOPE!
Men of War - I stuck around for three issues but there doesn't seem to be much interest in setting up a unified story line, so there isn't much to keep me plugged in every month. I might go back if I have some extra cash to spend, but as of now I'm onto other books.
Red Lanterns - Read issue 1 and wasn't compelled to continue. The characters are so different from what was set up previously, and I felt the changes weren't for the better. Not sure what I was expecting from the monthly tale of blood acid spewing aliens, but I'm not into what I was handed.
Batman - Allllllmost hooked, but I keep falling off. It may be my love for Batman and Scott Snyder that makes me come back after missing a month, but something is keeping me at bay. I think the focus on one bad guy I'm not familiar with who has little personality is playing a big part in my apathy.
Wonder Woman - The horse beheading in issue one turned me off. I write for a horror website as well, so It definitely isn't my own timid nature holding me back. It's just a little red for what I've come to expect from WW.
OMAC - Ridiculous...fairly formulaic...over the top...and I'm loving every minute of it. It could be that I'm just revisiting my youth with the style in which these tales are written and certainly the art applied to every panel..and that seems to be enough for me! If there were several more titles done in this style, I'd probably get bored very quickly and ditch the lot. The promise of mainstream characters appearing in this book in the future will surely keep me coming back for the time being.
Red Hood and the Outlaws - Love the art, love the writing, love the take on all three main characters. If this book had lips we'd be making out. Non stop fun at every turn with a dash of sexy thrown in, but not over done. It also amuses me that the characters seem to not give a crap about each other on the surface, but they can't seem to walk away. The dynamic is excellent.
Justice League International - Held on for two issues and just got bored. Nothing more to it. If I'd cared more for this group of characters, it might have helped.
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE - I really thought this book was trying way too hard to be Hellboy and the BPRD. Strike one. I'm also reading Marvel's Legion of Monsters which is 10 times more strike two. That's all I need. 2 strikes. I don't play sports.
Suicide Squad - I don't think i made it past issue 1, and me not remembering if I even got to issue 2 isn't a good sign. Catman's team was just way more fun, engaging, and better written than this.
Justice League - My love of this team is the only thing holding me in. The snappy banter is becoming a little repetitive, so I hope DC notes this and picks up the pace now that Darkseid is on the scene. They've probably got me for 2 more issues before I get distracted by shinier things.

These are the titles I had any strong feelings about. Honorable mentions go to Aquaman and I, Vampire which had great first issues but lost to stronger titles that lurched at my pockets and nabbed my cash before I knew what was happening. Gotta be quicker, boys! Other books I've been reading (in sigle issue format) include Legion of Monsters, PIGS and Buffy Season 9. Last year I was all about Marvel, and while I still pick up trades of Deadpool, I seem to have completely gone over to DC when buying single issues. Never thought that would happen!

Friday, December 30, 2011

File Under Ew: Zombie Skin Seaweed Snack

Got the gout? Pains in yer back? Corns on your toes? Wee little creatures chewing up yer neathers? Well we got the cure for what ails ya!


Actually, I'd like to see a similar fake commercial for this product staring Vince the ShamWOW guy. Instant viral hit.

"Through years of death and being buried in the ground, this crunchy product is bound to satisfy. The dried Zombie Skin, made of seaweed, is vegan, all-natural, and gluten-free."

Of course, ThinkGeek has your hookup.

"Now, before you undead rights activists get all mad, Edible Dried Zombie Skin isn't really made out of zombies. It's actually crunchy dried seaweed. And it's delicious! It's all natural, gluten free, and perfect for vegans (no people parts - promise). Just make sure to eat Edible Dried Zombie Skin out of the bag; that way you'll get all the tastiness of the "skin" and all the joy out of the funny looks of others."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Preview: The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Merchandise

Oh yea..there IS another super hero movie in 2012! Let's take a quick look at that calendar...

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - February 17th
Avengers - May 4th
Amazing Spider-Man - July 3rd
The Dark Knight Rises - July 20th

July 3rd is a long ways away, but images of licensed movie merch are already surfacing. The first surprise came from MEGABloks which revealed the first pieces for their upcoming construction kits. We recently wondered how the LEGO Marvel license would effect the future of MEGA's involvement with Marvel. It's looking like LEGO will handle anything under the Disney flag (Marvel movies and comics) while MEGA snaps up any film revolving around that massive planet (not verified, just speculation). So far, I think they missed an awesome opportunity with X-Men: First Class, but just about everyone expected that film to under-perform, which explains the lack of product. Maybe they'll pick up sets for The Wolverine and Magneto in 2013! At any rate, sets we've uncovered include Lizard Man Showdown, Oscorp Tower FX Battle, Sewer Lab HQ and FX Spider-Room Stunts.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Preview: NECA Hunger Games Action Figures

And now that the holidays and all that damn NON STOP PRESENT WRAPPING is done, we look forward into 2012 and all the fantastical toys we will find there. First stop is at the house of NECA, where they excel in translating movie monsters and heroes into excellent action figures, all in a relatively similar scale meaning you can finally have Rocky going into battle against Voldemort. Killer. Now NECA take on what is gearing up to be the most popular license of the new year...HUNGER GAMES!!

NECA recently confirmed the coming of Hunger Games action figures to compliment the line of jewelry, slap bracelets and other nick nacks they are already producing, beginning with Katniss Everdeen (as portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence). And now..a sneak peek!!

So here's my are looking at Katniss Everdeen (as was previously noted), Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth).

UPDATE: YES!! 3 for 3! The pre-orders just went up and these are indeed the figures we though they were. Each figure stands roughly 6 3/4" tall and comes with their own character specific accessories, all in a Clamshell packaging.

Here's the movie synopsis:

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in The Hunger Games. Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

American Battle Royale much? “The Hunger Games” hits theaters March 23rd, 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mr Incredible..The Super Posable Action Figure!

Revoltech is the action figure line from Kaiyodo which utilizes a revolving joint system that clicks into place when it hits a point. This lets you pick a pose and have it stick until you shift it yourself...something you don't see in a lot of toys today. Other key features generally include extra hands, faces, key accessories, flight stand (for jumping or take off poses) and sometimes, creepy eyes you can position! Since Revoltech comes from Japan, the line has enjoyed many diverse licenses an American company would probably not be able to handle, or afford. Some time back, they put out a Woody figure from Toy Story that became an internet sensation with his rape facey charm. ( you have to click that link to get what I'm saying. no amount of explaining will do it justice.) NOW, Kaiyodo takes on the super family we've wanted new toys of for YEAAAARS!!

It's Mr. Incredible!!! This figure features fists and open hands, growling or smirking faces, eyes you can position, many many many points of articulation, a flight stand AND an Omnidroid to battle!! On the down side, the figure is 4.3 inches tall, making it taller than 3 and 3 quarter Marvel Universe and G.I. Joes but way smaller than 6 inch Marvel Legends and your DC Universe Classics. There's also the scale of the Omnidroid to take into consideration...because that roboguy is tiny. Then there's the nearly 40 dollar price tag. Yikes. IF you can get past all these minuses, you can own the very nearly ultimate Mr. Incredible action figure this February.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Geekbook: A Very ThinkGeek Christmas 2.0

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! ThinkGeek always want to get in on a good time and this year was no different as a box arrived like clockwork right when we were starting the GeekBook articles. Let's start with the traditional gift of book ends and see how dorky ThinkGeek can make them when they become...


There are a lot of manuals for employees of Aperture Laboratories. But you don't necessarily have to read them. Being honest here. We used to hire smarter folks, but our death turnover rate is so high that we've had to lower our standards to the less-than-literate. But here's your Employee Manual and the various books on radiation poisoning that the government requires us to give all new hires.

But really, don't bother reading them. It's not necessary to do your job. Just follow Cave Johnson's voice and you'll be fine, okay? Take these bookends, they'll hold the books up. Why yes, they do look exactly like a test subject going through a portal on one side and out the portal on the other. Pretty clever, isn't it? Now let's get you off to your first testing assignment - I hear you're in the control group.

With rubber padding on the bottom and Tonka-tuff aluminum construction, this is no piece of junk bunk gift! Unfortunately, everyone loves them so they are out of stock at the moment, but keep checking back for availability. The site says there's a restock coming this February!

Other uses for Portal Book Ends...

  • Ball De-rollifier
  • Action Figure Diorama: Placing the figures back to front, it will look like your little portal guy is running right through them!
  • Doorstop
  • Awesome headgear (just add duct tape)

Captain America Hoodie:
Sometimes when you're a super soldier you just wanna sit around the house in something comfortable. Body armor doesn't really work when you're ready to put your feet up at the end of a long day. But maybe you don't want to lose your iconic look. That's where this product comes in. It has the look of the first Avenger combined with the comfort of your favorite hoodie.

Our previous version of this hoodie had all the details printed on in plastisol, which made it a bit stiff. This new, improved version has the details sewn on and embroidered. It makes for a much softer hoodie with better movement.

Long-sleeve, full-zip hooded sweatshirt is 60% cotton / 40% polyester. It has two front pockets and ribbed cuffs and bottom. Note that although there is a design on the hood, the zipper extends only to the neck and does not include the hood. The eyes on the sides of the hood are cut out. The A and the wings are stitched on.
My brief comment would be "excellent but odd construction". Eileen was the tester for this one and as you can see, while the hoodie keeps you warm in the rain and is comfortable even while running into battle, the hood itself is oddly put together, making the wearer look like more like a Troma hero than a Marvel one! Heeeesterical. For some, this will be a selling point. The spot where the A is stands up, creating a sort of Shark/Human effect. Maybe this is what you've been hunting for all along? Perhaps you are a shark creature and this is just the ticket? SOLD! Sadly, this is also out of stock for now.

Iron Man Light Up Arc Reactor T Shirt:

This may look like a standard t-shirt, but it's actually the Iron Man Mark IX suit. This latest version is much lighter than all previous versions, featuring a flexible interior with knitted cotton exterior. Unlike the Extremis version, the movement with your body does not require you to inject carbon nanotubes into your brain. The chest-mounted uni-beam is powered by photons, which it collects and then disperses when the wearer enters a dark area. For all body parts covered by the Mark IX's new form factor, the suit provides protection from adverse weather conditions, UV rays, and temperature extremes. It is designed for up to two days of use inside Earth's atmosphere, although after the first 12 hours of use its effectiveness is reduced. After 24 hours, it begins to act as a repulsor.

The Iron Man Arc Reactor Shirt has three components: the t-shirt, a light panel with a long cable, and a battery box.
Did you run out and buy that toy Arc reactor that clips to your shirt? Throw it out. Immediately. It is for a hobo costume. ThinkGeek's comfy T Shirt is required attire for any would be Tony Starks or anyone looking to add a little cosplay to their adult dress up clothes. I will be wearing this to every formal event from now on! The Tony T Shirt is available now!

and the best for last...


Here at ThinkGeek we're pretty lazy when it comes to technology. We expect our gadgets to do all the busywork while we focus on the high level important tasks like reading blogs. That's why we hate to have to crack open our laptops just to see if there is any wi-fi internet access about... and keychain wi-fi detectors, we would have to actually remove them from our pockets to look at them. But now thanks to the ingenious ThinkGeek robot monkeys you can display the current wi-fi signal strength to yourself and everyone around you with this stylish Wi-Fi Detector Shirt. The glowing bars on the front of the shirt dynamically change as the surrounding wi-fi signal strength fluctuates. Finally you can get the attention you deserve as others bow to you as their reverential wi-fi god, while geeky chicks swoon at your presence. You can thank us later

We took the Wi-Fi T Shirt out for a test drive and it worked perfectly. Did anyone suspect that in the future, all McDonalds locations would have Wi-Fi?! What a tweest. No Wi-Fi at Hallmark or Walmart and very little at Toys R Us. We ran up to a random house with a giant Santa on a Motorcycle on the lawn and they had a couple of bars. We returned to the Idle Cave where we were sure to have excellent Wi-Fi but couldn't get it past 2 bars until I summoned the spirits of my ancestors to boost the bars to full! So...this means...the shirt doubles as a spirits of your ancestors detector as well. Don't quote me on that...but do buy it.

Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer....Animated!

No words needed. Just drink it in.

Holiday Geekbook: Build Your Tiny Kingdom

Recently, LEGO (the most widely recognized building block company on the planet) announced that they would be releasing a line just for girls ages 5 and up. The resounding response from older female fans was "LEGO already has a line for's called...LEGO!" On the strength of this statement, I can assure you that building kits still make an awesome gift for your children age 16 to 40. Today, there is such a variety of subjects to choose from between the three companies making these toys, you can't go wrong. Here's a quick run down of some of their more exciting licenses...

LEGO: Star Wars, DC Super Heroes, LEGO City, Ninjago, Alien Conquest, Pirates of the Caribbean..and next year, Lord of the Rings!

MEGABlocks: HALO, Dragons Universe, Power Rangers, Hello Kitty, Moshi Monsters, Smurfs, Marvel Comics and Movies..and in 2012..Warcraft and Starcraft!! (i like to think I had some input on those last 2..or I delude myself on this at the very least.)

With LEGO taking on Marvel as well in 2012, I suspect MEGA will stop making theirs, which is a little sad considering how much people love their single figure mystery packs.

...and new to the brick battle is KRE-O, who are currently only doing Transformers, but since this is a Hasbro in house project, we drool at the prospect of G.I. Joe sets in 2012! I suspect they'll fold some girl licenses in their as well after LEGO's girlie-announcement, so don't be surprised if you see blocky My Little Ponies on the shelves as well. February is so close now, and with it comes TOY FAIR, so look out for our coverage there and all will be revealed.

UNTILL THEN...we have EYE CANDY!! On tap...

Kre-O sets for Jazz and Sentinel Prime: Each kit features Kreons; little LEGO minifigure like guys that are really the most sought after part of any kit on the planet. Considering these Kreons embody the style of the Generation 1 cartoons we were raised on, you could see why Transformers fans have been eager to crack open these sets. Jazz comes with a mini Jazz and a Race Car Driver while Sentinel Prime (who is an Optimus Prime variation and should not be confused with the movie version. Robots with facial hair. Maddness.) comes with mini Sentinel Prime, Soundwave, Thundercracker and a Fire Chief. Since I am a huge dork, I instantly ditched the human figures in favor of shooting your favorite bots. Would you have done any less? I think not.

The kits were fairly easy to assemble (but of course I had assistance from my ace builder Eileen), though I will point out both kits had a minimum of two missing pieces. Since these were not integral to the completion of our task, they get a pass. Time was of the essence, so we stuck to robot modes and found the posability fairly good, but the joints are so loose, trying to get them to stay put in any pose beyond standing straight up is a risky situation. That moment where your new creation begins to topple over is akin to watching your fragile toddler sized child slip off the couch. Obviously, I have no kids. My only other gripe would be Jazz's hooks for hands, which make for great campfire horror stories but not much play fun. Over all, I can see kids digging these kits and even adults flashing back to their youth while building their favorite Autobot or Decepticon (and more likely snatching out the Kreons immediately to put on a shelf), but Transformers toy fans will miss the actual transforming aspect.

MEGABloks HALO UNSC Falcon with Landing Pad: I was in a comic shop the other day where some kids were talking about how awesome LEGO is. They posed the question "does MEGA make anything cool??" Eileen, from across the room yelled "HALO!" Indeed, HALO is a title that attracts fans across the globe to my Flickr account to slobber over all the images from last year's Toy Fair. The UNSC Firebase alone has drawn 10k views! With countless vehicles, environments, weapons of mass destruction and a legion of figures to charge into battle, it's no wonder why fans await every release with wiggly, feely fingers and eager wallets.

The Falcon was assembled in one night (by Eileen, natch), with no missing pieces, easy to follow instructions, and two little Spartan soldiers to pilot the ship and man the side mounted heavy machine gun. What's not to love?! The cockpit opens, the blades rotate, the guns swivel and you can do all this without the damn thing falling apart every two seconds. Amen for the little thinLinkgs, yea? Adding a landing pad is one of those things were you say "they didn't neeed to put that in there, but I'm very happy they did." It's a nice, class final touch that makes the ship sparkle on your shelf. The downside? MEGA has 3 kabillion more HALO kits out there, and after building the Falcon, you'll be hooked. It's like crack I tells ya. Eileen is still in recovery. Those blind packaged single figures are particularly hard to kick.

Speaking of plastic crack...

LEGO MINI FIGURES!!! : Both the light of my life and bane of my existence. Each figure comes single packed and are available in more retail stores that carry toys with prices ranging from $2.50 to $3. Since the bulk of our readers are casual fans of toys (as in you love the idea of them but you probably don't buy many), you may balk on the $3 price tag (as do we all), but considering a 6 inch figure has sky rocketed to $16, it makes some sort of twisted sense. You'll find series 5 in stores at the moment with characters including Fitness Instructor, Lizard Man, Lumberjack, Gladiator, Small Clown, Egyptian Queen, Evil Dwarf, Boxer, Ice Fisherman, Graduate, Royal Guard, Cave Woman, Detective, Snowboarder Guy, Zookeeper, and Gangster! Looking for a Zombie? Series 1 has it. Need a Rapper fighting a Samurai Warrior? We direct your attention to series 3. Desire a Disco Stu? HE LIVES HERE!!

Now here's the maddening part. IF you hate the idea of blind packaged figures, assuring that you will score no less than 3 Tennis Players in your lifetime, then you Google "LEGO Mini Figure Codes". The first couple of series had two bar codes, one of which allowed you to scan with your smart phone (since we live in the future) and reveal who you were getting. Later, the evil overlords of LEGO decided to make it more difficult and instituted a dot code system. On the bottom of each package you'll find little round indents. Look verrrrry closely. The placement of these dots tells you who is inside. Of course, if you are ace Minifig master Matt Booker, you can feel up the package and know who it is in seconds, but not everyone possesses such groping powers, so there we stand in the isles of Toys R Us, phone in hand, struggling to find the dots that will reveal an Evil Dwarf. Pray for us.

CLICK HERE to score a Sentinel Prime, but keep in mind he was just on sale for about half the price, so keep watch!
CLICK HERE to nab your HALO MEGAbloks Falcon with free shipping!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

X-Men with Googly Eyes

Oh thank you, internets. Now I know what to do with my chrome covered variants the world once coveted and now shuns, banishing them to the 50 cent bin, only to be rescued by me like some shivering puppy looking up at me soulfully as Sarah McLaughlin music plays somewhere in the distance. My world of mutants shall now have googly eyes and be gifted to future generations.

You get the picture..and now you want moooore...and also you see your comic collection differently. Oh..the possibilities.

Drink in
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